In the beginning I used to think that teaching my children to read was going to be my biggest hurdle in home-schooling. I bought into the hype that children needed to be taught, and couldn't possibly learn on their own. I even purchased a membership for an online phonics program, which my boys found boring. I never forced them do these lessons, but I encouraged (ok bribed) them into doing a few lessons here and there.
As our approach drifted further and further into the realm of unstructured learning, I did more research into how kids learn to read. I began to get more relaxed about it, and decided that I was ok with my boys learning to read on their own. Even if that meant they wouldn't be reading by age 5, 6, 7 or even 10. Their ability to read, or lack there of would not, after all, be hampering their learning in other ways.
Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you see things, I didn't get the opportunity to find out how this works with Nico. I sent him on a two month extended vacation, and while away his Great Aunt, and English teacher, took it upon herself to teach him how to read. She did daily lessons with him, using Hooked on Phonics. Am I proud that my boy can read? Yes! But he was already making strides in getting there on his own.
However, I still get to witness this development in action with Lucas. Even now, at four years old, I can see how he is processing information, which will make it possible for him to read on his own. He knows all his letters, and what sounds each should make. He asks how words are spelled, and points out writing and inquires about what it says. Nico, forever the show off, has taken to reading signs as we are stopped at lights while driving. Lucas will look at the signs, already knowing what they say since his brother just told him, and sound out the words on his own; slowly saying each sound as he looks at the letters. He wants to read, and is taking the actions necessary to help get himself there.